With its breathtaking scenery, Alaska is a popular destination for road trips. As drivers enjoy the beautiful vistas, however, they may not consider another danger: collisions with animals. The vast Alaskan wilderness is full of wild animals, many of which are quite large and can cause serious accidents.
Animals on Alaska’s Rural Highways
Drivers on Alaska’s rural highways can encounter a variety of animals, including small mammals and much larger creatures, including the following:
- Moose. Across the state, moose roam freely year-round, but vehicles collisions with moose are more likely during the dark, snowy months of winter.
- Deer and elk. These animals have a tendency to bolt suddenly, so drivers should slow down as soon as they see them—even if they are at the side of the road. They also travel in herds, so if you see one, chances are there are more nearby.
- Brown, black, and grizzly bears. Bears pose a danger even when you are parked. Do not leave your vehicle unattended—especially if there is food inside to attract bears. If a bear approaches your vehicle while you are inside, you should drive away from the area immediately. If you are outside of your vehicle, try to maintain a safe distance until the bear is gone.
Tips on How to Avoid Collisions With Animals
The best solution for avoiding collisions with animals is to practice defensive driving. If you see an animal on the road in front of your car, swerving is a natural reaction, but it could cause you to spin out of control or to hit another vehicle. If it is a small animal, your best option may be to hit the brakes and prepare for impact. Larger animals, such as elk and moose should be avoided if at all possible. Here are some other recommendations:
- Use your high beams if you are driving in the dark.
- Slow down in bad weather and at night.
- Stay alert if you are in an area that has wildlife crossing signs.
You obviously can’t sue a wild animal for causing your property damage and injuries, but even when making a claim on your own insurance, you might want to consult an accident attorney.
Contact a Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you or a family member has injuries because of a car accident, you should talk to a lawyer before you talk to an insurance adjuster. An experienced attorney can provide the guidance you need if you want to find out more about filing a claim after your accident. In Alaska, attorney Ben Crittenden has helped many accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. Subscribe to his free newsletter to learn more about what he does and the legal options available to Alaska accident victims.